Buc Up!…for MNF – NOVEMBER 22
with Rob Kriete

-With 46 points scored last week against the Panthers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers led the NFL with 296 points going into this weekend.

-The NFL continues to set records with touchdowns and points scored in 2020 with 848 TDs scored through Week 10.

-The Bucs and Rams matched up last September in Los Angeles and scored a combined 95 points, with the Bucs winning.  Look for another bonanza of points this Monday night in Tampa.

-Rams QB Jared Goff has thrown 13 TDs this year but already close to 2500 yards and a 94.9% QB rating.  By contrast, Tom Brady has already thrown 23 TDs and owns a 99% QB rating while throwing for over 2700 yards.

-The Rams have had to make trips to the East Coast five times this season, and Leo Haggerty asked Bucs Head Coach Bruce Arians, “When you were the coach of the Arizona Cardinals, did you find it difficult to be a West Coast team traveling to the eastern time zone to play?” The always frank coach replied, “I think it’s much, much harder for a one o’clock game when you’re kicking off at 10 o’clock in the morning your time. A night game, we never found that to be any problem whatsoever.”

-Defensively in this game, Rams sack-leader, Aaron Donald has 9 with Jason Pierre-Paul leading Tampa with 7.5 sacks.

-The Bucs are 2-2 in night games this season.  Coach Arians has shaken up the practice schedule to try to figure out this nuance in their record straightened out.

-Tom Brady has had 14 seasons with 25 or TD thrown and trails only Peyton Manning who owns the NFL record with 16 seasons with 25 or more TDs.

-As per the usual, ItsSportsMagazine.com had its own Leo Haggerty ask a few questions of the opposing coach this week. Ram Head Coach, Sean McVay, was great in this exchange:

Leo Haggerty: “This is that once a decade or more when you have to play both the NFC East and the ADC East in the same season.  This will be your fifth trip to the East Coast.  How much of a toll, along with the pandemic protocols, is this taking on your team?”

Sean McVay: “You know what, we just try to handle things as seamlessly as we can.  You know, our guys have done a nice job.  This is our fifth trip but, fortunately for us, we are going to go the day before.  Because it’s a kickoff at 5:15 in our head, it’s not as stressful as these other trips have entailed when you’re traveling the day before and it’s a 10 am kickoff in the player’s head.  They have done a really good job of handling it and there’s going to be no excuses on our end about not being ready to go.  It’s going to be a great challenge against a great team.”

Leo: “You have family back in Tampa.  How hard will it be for you to come back and probably not be able to visit with them?”

Sean: “Yeah, it’s strange.  Fortunately, you guys are enabling some people to come to the game so they will be able to come and see it.  My uncle Jim McVay and his family.  My cousin Johnny and Aunt Laurie.  I’m not sure if my cousin Brett will be there but Tampa is a special place.  I’ve been going down there for years to the Outback Bowl and all the different events there.  I love the city.  These times have just been crazy.  We are fortunate and blessed just to be able to play football.  Everything I love about interacting with people, being able to communicate with them and be physically present, is now counter-intuitive to it.  It really is for the birds.  It really is.”

-Great job by the Buccaneers players who will help feed more than 3,600 families back in their hometowns and throughout the Tampa Bay community to offer a warm meal for those who need it this holiday season!

-The Buccaneers face a challenge this week on Monday Night against the Rams.  Jared Goff and the Los Angeles offense has seemingly slowed down since their run to, and subsequent loss, in Super Bowl LIII.  But Goff has been steady despite a strong Rams running game.  While the Bucs are putting up record scoring in Tampa Bay, they have struggled with consistency.  A strong performance, offensively and defensively, Monday Night against the Rams would cement the Buccaneers as a legitimate Super Bowl contender.  I expect this to happen.

Prediction:  Bucs 41 – Rams 24

-Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  From my “bubble” to yours, I hope you and your loved ones are being smart this holiday season.  Be safe.